Recently I stood at the counter of an amazing bakery attempting to make the most important decision of my birthday. Each pristine glass case was filled with perfectly piped cakes made of lady fingers and jam, meticulously arranged fruit tarts, and pies that would impress even Martha herself. On the counter, in neat little rows, a rainbow of photo-ready macaroons. Making a choice wasn’t going to be easy, but luckily I had brought my three-year old along as counsel.
I stooped down to ask her opinion. As I swiveled around to the glass, I was faced with a completely different experience than I had fifteen seconds earlier. Looking up at what I’d previously identified as culinary masterpieces, suddenly all I saw, aside from a bottom row of tarts, and a few special order mismatches tucked behind them, was a tower of racks with plates resting on top. Not a single macaroon in sight. In fact, it was totally depressing down there.
As adults, it’s easy to forget that the world is basically built for us. Nearly every doorknob, counter, armrest, and soap dispenser, was placed at a height determined by the size of your average adult. Ever stepped off a shallow curb that you were expecting to be deeper? That jolt you get as your foot gets jarred into the pavement is the cold hard realization of your adult size privilege. Ok. That may be going a little too far. But still.
Of course, that’s just the way it is. Kids get that. But as parents, it’s our job to understand their vantage point. It’s not always easy to navigate a world that is in many ways, just waiting for you to fit. While there’s no reason to lower all the surfaces in your house, you can make them feel bigger with one fun interview.
Let your kids ask you these questions (or any others they come up with) and answer them as thoughtfully as you can.
Lift them up. Let them steer the conversation. But don’t feel like you have to leave with $60 worth of macaroons they never even had to know about.
Younger kid questions
– If you could be an animal, what would you be?
– What food would you never eat?
– What was your favorite toy when you were a kid?
– What was your favorite game to play outside?
– Who taught you to ride a bike? Was it hard?
Older kid questions
– Who is your favorite relative that I’ve never met or don’t remember?
– Who was your worst teacher? Why?
– What do you wish you had learned as a kid?
– If you could be a kid again for one day, what would you do?
– What is the most ridiculous thing that scares you?